So awhile ago I was sitting in mass and I noticed that during communion hardly anyone would give much more respect to the Eucharist then a very slight bow. Realizing this I found the desire to start receiving communion on my knees. After doing this for about three weeks, my priest pulls me aside and asks if I don’t receive on my knees anymore because it might be “awkward” for other people. I told him that I would stop, and sense then I haven’t. It was kind of weird to be told by a priest to not take Jesus in the most humble way possible, but sense then I have been just genuflecting instead of bowing. So my question is that do you agree with the priest? And what are some other ways I can be more reverent and respectful during communion? Any advice would be great!
What did he mean by awkward? Like it stops the line since you drop to your knees? If it is awkward for people behind you then try being one of the last people to go. Or did he mean because they are standing and you are not? I do not see anything wrong kneeling. In my church everyone kneels at the front and receives it on the tongue.
Have you tried receiving it on the tongue? I recommend that.
Well he thought that it might be a distraction for other people, he really didn’t give any examples. And I have tried receiving on the tongue and like it better.
My church has does “continuous” communion (like a buffet style) rather than we all come up, all kneel, all receive, all retreat. The priest and especially person in charge of the extraordinary ministers have asked that we just do a very simple bow being mindful of those around.
If you’d like to give more respect, perhaps attend Eucharistic adoration? We do a lot of kneeling there.
I offer two suggestions for you -
First, perhaps you should spend some time in reflection and prayer - you begin your post with a negative judgment on upon how your fellow Communicants are receiving our Lord and Savior - ‘you’ determined that they show minimal resect … I am not sure that you are really able to judge …
While you have determined that reception in a kneeling position is holier or more appropriate then reception while standing - please note that this is what was established by our Bishops -
- What is the acceptable posture for receiving Communion? What if someone takes another posture?
The instruction recalls that the Roman Missal directs Conferences of Bishops to determine the proper posture for receiving Holy Communion. The Bishops of the United States have decided that the norm for receiving Holy Communion is standing, but that those who kneel to receive Holy Communion should not be denied the Sacrament.
- Is it acceptable to genuflect before receiving Communion?
The Roman Missal directs that Bishops are to choose a sign of veneration for the faithful when they receive Holy Communion standing. While the sign of veneration chosen by the Bishops of the United States is a simple bow of head, no person should ever be denied Holy Communion because they have made a different gesture.
From the above - your fellow Communicants are - in fact - receiving in a manner that is obedient to the instructions of the Bishops …
For the entire instruction on the GIRM see: usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/general-instruction-of-the-roman-missal/index.cfm
So while you may receive in a manner that does not conform to the preferred - those that do conform are not less respectful … and by your own admission - you changed in order to exhibit more piety … which sends the opposite message to this reader
Second: You might want to ask your priest where you might find any specific instructions that were issued for your Diocese - for example - these are the instruction that our [then] Archbishop issued as the 'norms for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon … as they are still posted to the website today - a year plus after the arrival of our new Archbishop - it appears that our new Archbishop has not issued any changes from the ‘norms’ previously issued. A copy is here:
I am sure your Bishop has issued similar instructions. Check it out - give them careful consideration. Ask questions of your Priest if you do not understand or wonder why they decided for certain postures.
Personally, I believe that my personal opinion is less important then obedience to the Church and the Bishop our Lord has entrusted me to for my instruction and spiritual care. I never want to attempt to be [nor appear to be] ‘more Catholic’ then the Pope [Bishop or Priest].
On a final note - I agree with the poster that recommended that you should try to receive last - that way you will not trip any Communicants behind you in the communion line. And try to concentrate less on how others receive and even less on your own outward posture. Instead concentrate more on the interior posture of your own heart
Yada said everything I would have said except…
“awkwardly” means not the norm for that parish.
Some feel that this is another way to call attention to oneself.
I’m sure you don’t want to do that.
It’s also not possible to discern the state of another’s soul by looking at them.
I’m sure you don’t want to do that either.
Refrain from looking at others and receive within the parameters set up by your Bishop and Pastor.
“Like a buffet”…what an unfortunate, if not truly offensive, choice of words to those who receive the blessed sacrament in the fashion that may be prescribed an the norm at their parish.:eek:
When people are walking up for Holy Communion behind each other there might be a concern that someone behind could trip over you if they aren’t paying attention.
I understand your concern, although I hope it has been demonstrated that standing is not an illegitimate method of receiving the Eucharist.
I believe the best thing you can do is practice humility. This means, obey your priest, whether you want to or not, because he’s asking you to do something that’s in no-wise contrary to faith or morals, that is, to receive standing up.
The more we mortify our own wills, the better. This means frequently denying ourselves what we had wanted to do. In doing this, we might gain a lot more than we ever thought, and ever would have if we followed our personal will the whole time.
My rule of thumb for reception: when in Rome. If I am in a parish that receives in the hand, standing, I receive in the hand, standing. My normal parish we receive at a communion rail kneeling. Depends on where I’m at.
Although it is unclear why to me, please do not take it as such, there was none intended. Especially when describing my own church. Just as opposed to all coming and kneeling at the table. We do it as Yada describes.
This is a really important point. People in the Communion line are looking ahead, not down. It is extremely easy to see how someone, especially an elderly person, could fall if the person in front of them suddenly and unexpectedly went down on their knees. There have also been previous discussions about the increased dangers of spillage of the Precious Blood if ministering the Cup to a kneeling person, especially if they suddenly kneel on the floor and not an area designated for this purpose, as I understand some churches have done.
My understanding is that they removed the “table” (I presume you’re referring to the communion rail) because it was a barrier of some sort.
Yes, correct. I have been to [non-Catholic] churches that have this and a “come to the Lord’s table” sort of invitation where a group of a certain number (basically however many fit at the rail) all kneel as one, receive +/- the same time, and leave as one for the next group.
Was the removal a Vatican II thing? It would seem to go with putting the alter out into the middle and the priest facing the congregation.
Again, not very charitable comments!!
Please also remember that the form of the Mass is a discipline and not a doctrine so apart from the consecration and priest receiving everything else can be changed.
Deepest apologies, but I am new and learning!
You might want to get a good book outlining the history of the Liturgy. :rolleyes:
Removing the communion rail had nothing to do with the form of the Mass, the priest receiving, or the consecration. And it wasn’t ordered by Vatican II.
I believe some Protestant churches have them as well.
While removal of Historically, the interior design of Catholic Churches was one of cruciform architecture–in the shape of a cross. The alter was near the top of the cross, and the communion rail was part of this design. Every last aspect of the design also had a symbolic meaning.
Catholic Churches were also traditionally designed so that the congregation was facing East, the direction facing Heavenly Jerusalem from which Christ will come again in glory. The priest at the altar also faced the East for the very same reason. Many traditional Catholics would likely believe this was proper, I would think.
One can still see this design in older Churches even if the communion rail has been removed. An older Catholic Church is very likely designed so that the congregation faces the East. While this design became symbolic and a tradition, it had its beginning when this anticipation was not symbolic but real, in the early days of the Church when it was believed Christ’s return was imminent.
I’m talking generally about the form of the Mass. I did not refer to rails.